SCHUMANN: PIANO MUSICKreisleriana, Arabeske, Fantasie
AVNER ARAD, piano
"a formidable young artist...Arad strongly characterizes each individual piece [allowing them to] come across with greatest success."
Atlanta Audio Society - January 2001
"Avner Arad...reveals the musical intelligence, sensitivity, and technique of a finished artist. His approach is direct and unfussy, yet appropriately free in terms of rubato, and nuanced in expressive details. In Kreisleriana, each part has its own vivid character and sound; likewise, in the Fantasie, the impetuosity of the opening movement, the brilliant assertiveness of the second, and the profound meditation of the finale are beautifully projected. The piano sound is rich and full-bodied, and in the thickest textures the individual voices are brought our clearly...his faithful attention to the score and his affinity for Schumann's style bring very satisfactory results, and this recording has a rightful place in piano collection."
Susan Kagan, Fanfare - March/April 2000
"...he glides through this challenging repertoire with confident fingers, a luxurious tone, pliant rhythm, and a poetic sensibility that draws the honey from Schumann's harmonic practice...It is obvious we are not in the presence of a routine artist."
Peter J. Rabinowitz, Fanfare - September/October 1999
PROGRAM NOTESIsraeli-born pianist AVNER ARAD has performed throughout North America and Europe as soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. Performance highlights have included engagements at Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Vienna’s Konzerthaus, Cologne's Kölner Philharmonie, Brussels’ Palais des Beaux-Arts, the Kennedy Center, 92nd Street Y, Merkin Hall, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, as well as festival appearances at Ravinia and Schleswig-Holstein.
Mr. Arad was a recipient of Carnegie Hall’s 1998 Distinctive Debuts Award. He performed Bach’s Goldberg Variations for his New York recital debut as winner of the Koussevitzky Memorial Competition, made his Lincoln Center debut with the Juilliard Orchestra, and embarked on his first European tour as winner of the Young Keyboard Artists International Piano Competition. He twice won the Juilliard School's Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition.
His critically acclaimed recordings include the complete waltzes by Chopin and an all-Schumann CD on MSR Classics label, the complete piano works of Janáček on Helicon Records, and Bloch’s complete works for violin and piano with Latica Honda-Rosenberg for OehmsClassics.
After receiving the Sharett Scholarship from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, Mr. Arad worked with Barry Snyder at the Eastman School of Music. He graduated from the Curtis Institute as a pupil of Seymour Lipkin, and received his master’s degree from the Juilliard School, where he studied with the late Rudolf Firkušný and Emanuel Ax.
[ www.avnerarad.com ]
Schumann represents an example of the influence of literature upon music in the early nineteenth century German Romantic School. His father, by profession a bookseller and publisher, was devoted to the English romantic writers, especially Scott and Byron and inspired at home a literary atmosphere. Schumann became committed to the writings of the two German romantic writers, E. T. A. Hoffmann and Jean Paul (Richter) and the fantastic elements in their works showed on him its deep influence ever after. Several of Schumann's major works are built around literary masterpieces like Goethe's "Faust," the impassioned music by Byron's "Manfred" and the glowing music associated with Hoffmann's bizarre and effervescent Kapellmeister Kreisler.
In Schumann one sees all the features of romanticism-eternal unrest, yearning, despair, exultation, melancholia, and sensitive mind. His piano music is both poetic and passionate and the demanding virtuoso passages are a far cry from the classical orderly scales and figurations; they are turbulent, brilliantly ornamented fantasies.
Schumann had the ambition of becoming a virtuoso pianist but was forced to dismiss the idea from his mind after disabling one of his fingers, thus he set his career as a creative musician and began feverishly composing. Till the age of 29, Schumann wrote almost nothing but compositions for piano and the bulk of it, including the Kreisleriana Op. 16, the Arabeske Op. 18, and the Fantasie Op. 17 herein recorded, was composed in three years, between 1836-1839. [Avner Arad]
Kreisleriana, Op. 16
Arabeske in C major, Op. 18
Fantasie in C major, Op. 17